Saturday, 30 March 2013

Bottom Heavy

Hmmmm, ok so I think its finished but now it feels a little heavy in the bottom left, I think I might adjust the shape of the left hand tree, maybe I need to put the whole painting out of sight for a few days :)...we'll see...I did sign it though...

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Hmmmmm not sure really...

This is the current piece I am working on, a house portrait. Its 70cm x 50cm on terracotta Colourfix sandpaper. As you can see its a bit all over the place at the moment...I have left out the Lillipilli tree on the left deliberately as an opportunity to demonstrate my method for painting green foliage. To begin with this was one of those rare pieces that just seems to paint itself but as I got more involved in the painting, as it does, it became more precious to me and when some little problems arose I found it hard to fix them, so hard I haven't tackled them yet!The pots at the front of the house have turned out slightly different and I am having a hard time with the perspective of the hedge, it should be smaller on the right as it moves away but when I painted it like that it just looked wrong, so it looks like this one will be on the easel a bit longer. Not too long I hope, I am already thinking of the next one :). Will post an update when its be continued...

Sunday, 24 March 2013


Sometimes I walk outside my front door and I feel like I am surely the luckiest person alive. We live in such a busy, crowded world now, for our family to have our little slice of nature feels like such a luxury no matter how humble it is. This is my inspiration when I paint the landscape. When I have been out on the crowded roads and the busy shops and I come home to our little sanctuary it is such a relief and I just want grab it with both hands and capture that feeling on paper so its there on record. In the morning, before everyone is awake and going off to where ever it is they go during the day all you can hear is birds waking up and everything seems promising for a perfect day (it doesn't always turn out that way :)). So with that in mind I thought I would post some photos of our property and some of the surrounding walk trails...feel free to use them as references in your own art :) The one at the very bottom reminds me of an Elizabeth Mowry painting...

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

More of the old stuff

These are three older pieces, its funny how each piece reminds me of some part of my progress and I guess thats why I prefer them to some of my other pieces. Even though they don't necessarily represent pieces that I sold or won a prize with they have significance in other ways (ok I did sell the one on the left but I didn't really want to!). The painting on the left taught me the 'power of the pathway'...that is using a composition containing a pathway, road etc and how it involves the viewer personally as they join you in a journey along the path. The middle painting is a small piece I painted for my Aunty who always encouraged me in my artistic was the first painting I did after I purchased an entire set of Mount Vision pastels, the best money I ever spent! The third is the first piece I ever tried a wet underpainting on and gave myself up to the 'serendipity' as Richard McKinley says...sometimes I forget that lovely loose feeling and have to remind myself to let go and let the painting tell me what to do :)

Monday, 18 March 2013

Coming Home

OK back to the archives...this is a piece I painted about a year and a half ago. It is painted in soft pastel on sandpaper. I originally painted it in a small portrait format, just using up some reclaimed paper really. Then I kind of liked it so I thought  I would try it in my favourite large square format and it seemed to work quite well. The proportions of the house had to change a bit but it was just a really enjoyable piece to paint, for some reason there was no struggle it just kind of painted itself. The large piece picked up a Highly Commended award.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Evening Firebreak

Recently I rediscovered some old photos on my computer (I have the worst filing system EVER). They are progress shots of the first painting I did in what has become an ever increasing series of paintings depicting the firebreak that is plowed around our property each summer. The subject sounds boring but it is the simplicity of the composition that keeps bringing me back to this subject. I have also taken some good shots on the camera and I am nobody's photographer! There is somthing special about the play of light across the sandy break, changing throughout the day and the tall golden grasses I just find  irresistible. Anyhoo I thought I would post them here. As I look at these I realise how much my method has changed over the last couple of years. The underpainting is thinned, water soluble oils and before you ask, I have no idea why I left the actual firebreak unpainted!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Ebay Treasure

Ever since I started using pastels I have drooled over other artists beautiful fold up palettes and studio boxes but I could never decide on one set up. Also no-one ever sells them second hand and the new ones are pricey. I wanted something portable but easy to use in the studio too. Whilst looking on ebay  recently for something completely unrelated, I stumbled onto this little treasure. Now I don't know how I ever did without it! I am not really a plein air painter but I do get around with my pastels quite a lot. Exhibitions, demos etc and this has been perfect. It also fits in all my little tools, pencils erasers, gloves, brushes etc. The only downside is its a tad on the heavy side when full but it is worth it. This cool little sewing box is over fifty years old but in great condition, what I really love about it is its quirky!

Monday, 11 March 2013

I LOVE Colour !!

I don't know how many people will read this blog, if any, but if you do follow me there is something you will find out very quickly...I am a colour junkie! For instance, recently I painted a rhino. Now rhinos are grey right? hmmm, not this one. It was a great exercise in learning to make grey from compliments, that is layering colours that are opposite on the colour wheel. I used red and green, violet and orange, blue and yellow, to make lively interesting greys. Admittedly I did end up using some real grey over parts of it to tone it down. This piece was painted on black colourfix paper using mount vision pastels. As you can see this piece is called Laugh Lines :)

First Post Yay

Helloo there, ok, so bear with me this is my first blog post ever. I guess I will start with an image. It feels like the right way to begin a blog about art after all ;). I spent this morning at a local art event, painting outside an exhibition. Painting in public is still something I am getting used to but it is a great way to get your confidence levels up. Anyway, this was the little painting I managed to produce in about 2 hours or so (not including chatting, eating and generally schiving off!). It will need a bit more tweaking, or maybe painting over! Dave, as I have named him, is painted in pastel on terracotta colourfix sandpaper. This is absolutely my favourite paper bar none for painting animals. It just makes them pop. I used alcohol on the pastel background just to knock it back a bit.